Movie review: “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019)

“Oh, dear! My first laser fight!”

What does Star Wars mean to you? Is it or has it become an indelible part of your life, and, if so, how long ago/for how long? How far back do your memories go? Did you somehow snag the cardboard IOU placeholder display from Kenner as a kid, promising a quartet of otherwise missing in action action figures that weird but enchanted first Christmas, a time so very long ago (1977), in a galaxy comparatively far, far away? Did you go to sleep each night of your childhood beneath a Return of the Jedi comforter, in a matching bedroom suit? Did you play Episode One Racer for the Nintendo 64 each night until your exasperated parents ordered you to bed? Did you build Lego set after Lego set, or play with the ancient diecast Micro Collection, or spend your weekends haunting Old Republic MMORPG servers? Did you ever argue passionately with some (other) idiot on the internet about midichlorians, or the scourge of creeping Disney-fication, or the enervating fiction that Greedo ever shot first? Do you care? Continue reading “Movie review: “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019)”

Movie review: “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018)

Solo

“You think everything sounds like a bad idea…”

The Star Wars saga’s very longevity has become, if you’ll forgive the slight Jedi inference, a double-edged sword, laser-honed, amazingly precise despite its innate power and massive destructive capability, and, therefore, deceptively difficult to wield. This was, of course, already the case when a single storyteller, flawed visionary/kindly internet punching bag George Lucas, held the franchise in his eccentric hands; You can bet the issue has only compounded and is now accelerating toward what promises to be a spectacular end since that control was usurped by The Walt Disney Company, a monolithic trillion dollar entertainment conglomerate focused almost exclusively on the generation through perhaps overly dedicated fan service of a veritable Matterhorn of filthy lucre. To wit: Opening weekend box office for Solo: A Star Wars Story – just north of $100 million domestically – was smashing by most any other rational measure, though pillow soft if not scandalous for such a priority representative of the Mouse That Roared. Continue reading “Movie review: “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018)”

Movie review: “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” (2015)

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“This is the ship that made the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs?”

“TWELVE!”

My third grade class descended on the local mall on a glorious spring Monday morning in 1983 like a swarm of army ants, on a school-sanctioned field trip to see Return of the Jedi. The powers that be felt it would be the most efficient way to sate the thermonuclear excitement of a bunch of little hellions, and possibly the only ruse by which to attempt to focus their attention on schoolwork the entire rest of the week. Breathless speculation at the bus stop morphed into giddy anticipation on the rides both to and from school, before giving way to unalloyed joy in the movie theater. Afterward, we ate lunch at McDonald’s and played, en masse and single-minded, at a local park, pretending the wooden fort, with its suspension bridge, slides, and turrets, was Jabba the Hutt’s opulent pleasure barge, and that a giant rock jutting out of the ground just past the line separating sand from grass was the skiff from which Luke, Han, and Chewie were supposed to sacrifice themselves to the great and powerful Sarlacc…but rebelled. Continue reading “Movie review: “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” (2015)”

Concert review: “Weird Al” Yankovic

Al onstage

Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, TN – August 7, 2015

To its much appreciated and dazzlingly attractive readership, the masthead of this website promises/ threatens, “unrepentant, long-form geekery.” That thought first came to me about a year ago as I upended my brain in desperate pursuit of a Twitter-compatible advertising tagline, unaware I’d stumbled across a possible mission statement instead. It suits the site well, I think, and makes me feel a bit more comfortable and philosophically attuned with the work I turn out here, which lives dead in the middle of the gray area separating “hobby” from “vocation”. I might just as well have written those words in preparatory advance of this review, however, for I am by far the biggest “Weird Al” Yankovic fan I know. It may surprise you, as it did me, to learn that this is not exactly a highly coveted position. Continue reading “Concert review: “Weird Al” Yankovic”

Roger Ebert – An Appreciation

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I cannot sum up Roger Ebert. The man truly contained multitudes, and will be remembered fondly in the coming days by so many people far better equipped to eulogize him than I. Still, I can attempt to express, incompletely and inadequately, the length, breadth and depth of what he meant to me. I grew up a latchkey kid whose parents were divorced by the time I turned 6 and remarried by the time I turned 8. I was shy and introverted, naturally introspective, and painfully awkward at times. So often I felt fundamentally out of step. Continue reading “Roger Ebert – An Appreciation”